March, by Mary Oliver
There isn’t anything in this world but mad love.
Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love.
And, of course, no reasonable love.
Also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving.
But, who wants easier?
We dream of love, we moon about it, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the Irish sea, all doom and splendor.
Today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun. I called out to him, and he turned. His face was like an empty pot.
I remember his tall, pale wife; she died long ago. I remember his daughter-in-law.
When she died, hard, and too young, he wept in the streets. He picked up pieces of wood, and stones, and anything else that was there, and threw them at the sea.
Oh, how he loved his wife. Oh, how he loved young Barbara.
I stood in front of him, not expecting any answer yet not wanting to pass without some greeting. But his face had gone back to whatever he was dreaming.
Something touched me, lightly, like a knife-blade. I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint.
Inside I flared hot, then cold. I thought of you. Whom I love, madly.
March is here, and today the air smells like spring. I’ve been dreaming over seed catalogs, pouring over my new Master Gardener training binder, hoping that this is the year where I finally am able to grow something to be proud of.
I wrote another article for the Willy Street Co-op’s Reader, on gardening. Check it out if you’d like:
What are your plans for this season? Will you be growing anything of your own this year?